By Benson Hewitt
There was a time when communication in Newfoundland and Labrador was in its infancy. Editors or reporters of newspapers in St. John’s would go on board returning coastal boats to gather news from what they then referred to as the out harbours. Sometimes they would report on the fishery, accidents, and the like, and even on the death or weddings of notables, especially merchants. On Sept. 18, 1910, the S.S. Fogota arrived in St. John’s, having been as far north as Change Islands, and its Chief Officer Weston Kean had quite the story for the Daily News. A bold heading for its Sept. 19th edition went thus:
Horrible Accident at Dog Bay. Young Man Killed in a Lumber Mill. Particulars Most Harrowing.
“The people in and around Notre Bay have been expressing overwhelming grief for the bereaved ones of an unfortunate man, named Nippard, belonging to Dog Bay, who lost his life on Wednesday last, while working in Horwood’s Lumber Mill at that place. The particulars are most appalling and hard to describe. The victim who, after struggling between life and death for a period of five weary hours, suffering excruciating agonies, responded to the final summons.
The sad news of the tragedy was brought along by the S.S. Fogota which arrived here yesterday, and which was at Dog Bay for a day after the happening. Last evening the “News” interviewed Chief Officer Weston KEAN who gave the following information:
The unfortunate man was employed in the saw mill. He was engaged passing lumber to the operator of the clapboard cutter, which is operated in the building there, and was working in that capacity when the accident befell him. At that particular moment he was passing a piece of lumber to a fellow workman, and in doing so placed it over the revolving saw, but not at a sufficient distance to avoid danger. Whereupon the board coming in contact with the teeth of the saw, which was revolving at rapid speed, rebounded violently, and as quickly as a discharge from a gun, NIPPARD was struck a terrific blow by the end of the board in the lower portion of the face, which drove him several yards distant from where he was standing. He was lying prone on the floor in a mass of blood, which issued freely from the man’s wounds, when the workmen of the place, including Mr. W.F. Horwood, hastened to the scene of the accident and acted with much expediency. The poor fellow was then bleeding to death and lay motionless. His face was wretchedly disfigured that it was utterly impossible to recognize him, and he was practically decapitated. The right jaw and under part of the mouth were beaten completely into pulp, whilst a portion of the throat had been badly mutilated, the bones of which penetrated the wind pipe. From the effects of the latter, the blood ceased to flow, which gradually, but ultimately, succeeded in choking him.